High on performance and value. Not the best user experience.
As is true with many things they have chosen to combine a wide and varied array of their product models on one page. Some of them bear nothing more than a passing functional resemblance to each other, some have been around for years and others represent the newest most split technology. Please be very careful to read the fine print in the header just above each review to find out exactly which model the user is reviewing. To be clear then, this review is for the just released wd model wds500g2b0b 3d nand m.2 2280 ssdsata iii 6 gb/s drive. Hint: as of late august 2017 so far there have been no posts for it yet.While computer technology and standards have changed continuously since pc?€™s first became available to the mass market, many of those changes have leaned toward being backward compatible ?€? at least for a time until consumers catch up. Not so with what was originally known as ngff (next generation form factor), the acronym itself having evolved into simply m.2. Over a relatively short time there have (and are) several iterations of this design, not always physically interchangeable with each other. Despite wd?€™s saying that an m.2 slot is typically found on newer systems, in reality companies have been slow to incorporate m.2 into their computers, whether at the basic level or even at the premium level.When this specific first became available in late august 2017 i researched dozens of best-selling desktop computers from all of the major brands being sold at the top 10 retail sellers of computers in the u.S. And only found a small percentage of them that supported m.2 yet. Taking it a step further i went directly to the major motherboard makers themselves and again found the percentage of boards that support m.2 to be minimal. The results with laptops was more encouraging, with several of the best-selling models supporting m.2 for their primary ssd drive.Note that just supporting m.2 isn?€™t enough however, as there is more than one slot configuration, and those can be physically incompatible with each other.None of this is to say that this drive or the form-factor it represents isn?€™t a good choice, but only to say that if you are considering it and want to derive the full performance potential from it.Fortunately my use for this drive is in a very new, very high-end gaming laptop that is spec?€™d to the max with the exception that they only equipped it with a 256gb m.2 ssdsata boot drive that?€™s not the newest technology as this one from wd. I show that ssd in my photo of how it mounts to the inside of my laptop. Replacing the original drive with this one gave me twice the storage capacity and a noticeable performance boost. It?€™s worth noting that as a professional photographer i have a high degree of confidence when i choose their memory for the cameras i depend on for my livelihood (wd owns san-disk, they are the same company).This ssd is sold as the equivalent to what is known as a bare drive when you buy a traditional hard drive, which is to say you get the chip only, nothing else ?€? no mounting hardware of any type, no screws, no cables, no drivers/software, no enclosure, and important to note, no instructions of any kind. There is a small piece of paper in the box with a few words translated into dozens of languages that simply says this card is intended for professionals only and if you are not a professional you should take your computer to someone who is to install it. And for many novices and even some more advanced users who may have installed a hard drive or two the challenge dealing with this split edge technology may be more than they are able to deal with.There are plenty of professional lab tests as well as lots of amateur home-brew speed tests available to read about this drive. I won?€™t add to it by adding my own measured result, as the chances are high that it will perform differently in your own system based on dozens of different factors and forces. The only viable respond is to the question is it faster. That can be measured by simply comparing everyday real-life question split, doing an apples-to-apples comparison in the identical system, using the identical os, with the identical files. We don?€™t pay for specs; we pay for real-life performance. This drive delivers performance. In every way, performing everyday workload question it is faster ?€? noticeably faster.Is it worth it? Considering the split technology, the convenient form factor and that it comes from a recognized and trusted pioneer in hard drive technology i think it is spot on. I would only fault them on the lack of in-box documentation and the rather unusual suggestion that this product should only be installed by a professional. I think anyone who understands what this drive is should be qualified to install it and that they deserve a better first impression from wd.